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NOUT zenith

French trio NOUT awarded the second EJN Zenith Award

French trio NOUT awarded the second EJN Zenith Award for Emerging Artists in collaboration with 12 Points Festival

We are very happy to announce French trio NOUT as the winner of the second Zenith Award for emerging artists - an initiative launched by the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) in collaboration with 12 Points Festival and supported by Creative Europe.

NOUT is a French creative music trio composed of Delphine Joussein (flute, fx), Rafaëlle Rinaudo (electric harp), and Blanche Lafuente (drums). They have been performing together since 2020, took part in the Jazz Migration development programme #7 by the Association Jazzé Croisé (2021-2021) and subsequently toured in France and Europe, gathering enthusiastic reviews and great appreciation from the public.

The Zenith Award was created in 2019 to shine a spotlight on a remarkable European ensemble or solo project working in creative jazz and improvised music. The winner is selected from the carefully curated 12 acts performing at the 12 Points festival, all coming from different European countries. The Award celebrates the ensemble’s ability to break musical boundaries while demonstrating an original approach to performance and a potential for a strong, ongoing international career. The name “Zenith Award” was adopted to reflect the level of excellence in the winning act, and its capacity to show a way forward for the future of creative music in Europe. The first receivers of the Zenith Award were Trio Heinz Herbert from Switzerland in 2019.

For each Award edition, the Europe Jazz Network nominates an international jury of respected artistic directors, all EJN members, to choose the winner out of the 12 bands performing at the festival. For this second edition of the Zenith Award, due to the cancellation of 12 Points Festival in 2022, the choice of the winning band was made by the Zenith Award jury through online meetings and digital evaluations, from the shortlist of the artists that were chosen to perform at the festival.

The choice of winner was particularly difficult given the high quality of all projects and the vast diversity of sounds and ensembles in the shortlist, with bands coming from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Norway, Switzerland. Please see below the full list of shortlisted candidates.

The jury commented: “This trio shows a very high level of creativity and originality, with the unusual line-up of flute, electric harp and drums. They can be extremely vigorous and energetic, while still maintaining a complexity and richness in textures and details. While they are obviously having a good time on stage, they possess a wide range of dynamics, they can surprise you and keep you tied to your seat, or stand up dancing, until their performance is over. It is not by chance that despite them being rather young they already catched the interest of many promoters in France and beyond. We have no doubt that this Zenith Award will give them the opportunity to step up their career in Europe and be known to a wider community of professionals from the creative music sector, and they fully deserve it. Huge congratulations to NOUT!”

The jury for the second Zenith Award consisted of: Tina Heine (Salzburg Jazz & the City, Austria), Jan Ole Otnæs (Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene, Norway), Karolina Juzwa (International Jazz Platform, Poland), Francesco Mariotti (Pisa Jazz, Italy), Michael Bonner (Moving On Music/Brilliant Corners festival, UK), and Kenneth Killeen (Improvised Music Company/12 Points Festival, Ireland).

On being named the winners of the Zenith Award 2023, NOUT commented: “The Zenith Award?! Hard to believe, but it seems that the adventure goes on hard for Nout. Beyond countries and music borders, all honoured that we are, we'll continue to give our best to our audience. Peace and Noise, Freedom and Love!”

NOUT will now receive an outstanding prize of performances and promotional opportunities from among the EJN membership, including a prestigious showcase at the European Jazz Conference 2023 in front of over 400 music professionals from all over Europe and beyond in Marseille, France (14-17 September) as part of the showcase programme of the Conference.

EJN will also support at least 5 additional international concerts inside the EJN membership, setting up a communication and professional development strategy to promote the Zenith Award winners through its members and contacts and assisting in developing the winning act’s visibility and viability in the international arena.

About NOUT

Described as the missing chain between Nirvana and Sun Ra, the alliance between Delphine Joussein, Rafaëlle Rinaudo and Blanche Lafuente aims at pushing their instruments beyond their limits, with the enthusiasm of a mad scientist in front of his vials.

Flute, harp & drums is a rare combination that this trio turns upside down.

In the wake of John Zorn's experiences on the borders of jazz and noise, Nout imagines its music as a scenario with surprising twists. “We believe to be the characters of Alien and we find ourselves in Indiana Jones; we start with our eyes shut on a red movie theatre seat and we end up rocking on the dancefloor”.

Check out NOUT’s work on their website, Bandcamp, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Jazz Migration profile.

Shortlisted projects for the 2nd Zenith Award

About 12 Points festival

12 Points is a dynamic festival of emerging European jazz established in 2007 by Dublin-based Improvised Music Company (IMC). The festival is nomadic, alternating between Dublin and other vibrant European cities. The 2019 edition took place in partnership with the prestigious BIMHUIS venue in Amsterdam from 25-28 September.

The 4 day festival presents 12 emerging acts from 12 different European countries. Over 600 young musicians from across Europe have performed at 12 Points since 2007. 12 Points is programmed each year by an open-call, with peer recommendations from jazz promoters and organisations across Europe. This exploratory approach to finding new talent earned 12 Points the inaugural Europe Jazz Network award for ‘Adventurous Programming’ in 2012.

About Europe Jazz Network (EJN)

The Europe Jazz Network (EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide non-profit association with the mission to encourage, promote and support the development of jazz and creative improvised music within the European scene and to create opportunities for artists, organisers and audiences from all different countries to meet and communicate. Currently EJN includes 186 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues and national/regional support organisations) in 34 countries and is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union through its network strand for the period 2022-2024.

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